Tag Archives: Repurposed for fun

Repurposed for Fun: Bowling with Cups

Last week, I wanted to try a new game for Try Something New Thursday. I grabbed a stack of cups that were leftover from our last party and a medium sized ball. I made a pyramid with the cups, and we were ready to bowl. 

Buddy was excited as soon as he saw the bowling game. He initially tried to throw the ball at the cups. Then I showed him how to roll the ball. Buddy tried to roll it right next to the cups, but I told him you have to go far for bowling. He thought that was really funny, and he now says “go far!” all the time. It didn’t take long, though, for him to understand how to bowl.

Buddy and I took turns bowling. We didn’t keep score; we just tried to knock down as many cups as we could. It was a lot of fun showing him how to take turns to play a game. If we didn’t knock down all of the cups, Buddy kicked over the rest of them. That was a lot of fun too. 

We played for about 15 minutes, then Buddy took a break. He decided to put his trains in a cup and pour them into a box. (Buddy still loves pouring!) Once all the trains were in the box, we got back to bowling.

We both had a lot of fun! I’m happy to have an easy game we can play with a family, and I’m sure we will play it again soon.

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Cardboard Box Coloring

Sometimes the best activity ideas are the easiest. A long time ago, I saw the idea of coloring in a cardboard box on Pinterest. (See the original idea on Berry Sweet Baby’s blog here.) I immediately thought it was a great idea, but Buddy was too small to do it at the time.

Last week, Buddy received a gift that came in a very large cardboard box. I took the present out, but I didn’t immediately break down the box. Later in the day, I needed an activity for Buddy when I remembered the coloring box idea. I grabbed Buddy, gave him some crayons, and put him in the box.

Buddy loved being in the box! He colored for a bit, and then he had a lot of fun knocking down the sides of the box. Every time he hit the side, Buddy burst out in hysterical laughter!

Buddy loved coloring in the box as well. He actually loved this activity so much, we did it four days in a row! (And then we revisited it again later in the week!)

Buddy loved to take peek-a-boo breaks from his coloring. He loves playing peek-a-boo, and the box made it extra fun.

This was such a great activity! I left the box with crayons in it in our living room for a few days, and we would color whenever we needed a fun activity. It was worth the eye sore to have a quick, fun activity right on hand. We’ve since thrown out the box, but I’m sure we’ll do it again the next time we have a large box delivered to our house.

Heart Stamping Art Project

Last week, Buddy and I made Valentine’s Day sun catchers. This week, I wanted to do another craft related to Valentine’s Day. (What can I say? I love getting ready for holidays.) When I first saw this heart stamping idea on Housing a Forest’s blog, I knew it would be a perfect activity for Buddy.

I started by folding three toilet paper tubes into heart shapes. Then I put each heart on a paper plate with paint. (This was our first time using Crayola washable kid’s paint [affiliate link], and it was great!) I also used painter’s tape to tape down a piece of construction paper.

At first, Buddy was more interested in the containers of paint than the actual project. He wanted to play with the containers like blocks, and he was upset when I took them away. However, once I showed Buddy how to make hearts with the tubes, he was very interested.

Buddy did a great job of stamping hearts on the paper. He wanted to use both ends of the roll for stamping, so that made a bit of a mess. He also liked to see what the paint looked like when it smeared, so not all of the hearts were perfect. But overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out. I would say it’s Buddy’s best art project yet!

Buddy was really proud of his final product! I think it looks great for art done by a one year old! We will definitely try this again next Valentine’s Day.

Repurposed for Fun: Colander Activities

I love when I can find new activities for Buddy using materials I already have at home. Today, I pulled out an old colander of ours for playtime. (This idea originally came from Powerful Mothering’s blog here.) To start, I gave Buddy a bunch of pipe cleaners in the colander, and let him explore the materials. It’s been a long time since we’ve played with pipe cleaners, so they were new to him.

Buddy enjoyed pulling the pipe cleaners out of the colander and bending them.  Then he put most of the pipe cleaners back into the container. When he saw that one of the ends had poked through a hole, I showed Buddy how to pull the pipe cleaner through it. Then, I put a bunch of pipe cleaners in the holes, and Buddy had fun pulling them out.

After awhile, Buddy decided he wanted to try to put them into the colander holes himself. This was a little challenging for him, but he worked at it for a long time. I’m sure when Buddy is a little older (he’s almost 21 months now), he’ll be better at this part of the activity.

At one point, Buddy decided to flip over the colander to pull the pipe cleaners out of the other side. I loved seeing his creative thinking!

After awhile, Buddy took out all of the pipe cleaners, and he decided it would be fun to play peek-a-boo with the colander. There was much laughter involved in this game because he could see me through the holes!

Buddy played with the colander and pipe cleaners for more than 20 minutes, which is forever in toddler time. Eventually, he needed a new activity. I decided to pull out a bunch of his small balls to put in the colander. These were a combination of our Bright Start balls, Munchkin bath balls, and other balls we happened to have (affiliate links).

Buddy had a great time putting balls in the colander and spilling them out again. Sometimes they went all over the room, but sometimes they just stayed in a small pile. He chased them all over the room and threw them back into the colander.

These activities took absolutely no prep time on my part (hooray!), and there was very little clean up involved. Even better, they kept Buddy occupied for about 40 minutes. We both had a great time, and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

Best Toy Free Ways to Entertain a One Year Old

Buddy just turned 17 months yesterday. (Where has the time gone?) As Buddy gets older, he’s become more vocal about his preferences. He wants to eat his favorite foods and nothing else. He wants to read the same books over and over. And he wants to decide what to play with. (Ah… life with a one year old.) The interesting thing is, right now, Buddy doesn’t really want to play with toys.

The bookshelf in Buddy’s room has four bins of toys. One bin has electronic toys, two bins have non-electronic toys, and the final bin has non-toys. Buddy’s current favorite bin by far is the bin of non-toys. (The electronic toys bin is his least favorite bin, which is interesting…) I’ve blogged about some of these repurposed-for-fun activities before, but I thought it might be handy to have several of these ideas in one place. I’m sure I’m not the only mom constantly on the lookout for new playthings that already exist in my house.

Pom poms

Buddy practicing pouring with pom poms.

Buddy practicing pouring with pom poms.

There are a million ideas on Pinterest for toddler pom play for a reason. Toddlers love pom poms. The cup of poms is usually the first non-toy of choice for Buddy, and we’ve played with them in a lot of different ways. We’ve pushed them into a snack container and put them through paper towel tubes. We’ve even done a small portable pom container on an airplane. Right now, Buddy loves pouring them into containers, on himself, or on me. He sometimes puts them into an ice cube tray and then pours them on himself. The trickiest thing about poms with this age is they look tasty, so they must be closely supervised. The rule at our house is if the pom goes in the mouth, they are put away for the rest of the day.

Pouring poms is so much fun!

Pouring poms is so much fun!

Straws and a water bottle

water-bottle-straws

Putting straws in the bottle requires a lot of concentration.

I go into more detail about this activity in this blog post, but I just cut straws down to fit in an old water bottle. Buddy can play with these for a long time. He loves the sound they make when they’re in the bottle. Sometimes, he hands the bottle to me to blow across, and he loves that noise too. This was a great travel activity for us last weekend. I always drink out a water bottle when I travel, so I just packed the straws and used the water bottle once I was done with it.

Lids and containers

container-hat

Wow! This is so much fun!

Sometimes we play with lids and containers together, and sometimes we play with them separately. Buddy loves putting things into containers and using them as drums or as a hat. He also enjoys trying to put the lids onto the container.

Playing with lids is a great high chair activity.

Playing with lids is a great high chair activity.

Pans

Listen to that noise! It's great!

Listen to that noise! It’s great!

We have an old cake pan and an old muffin tin that live in Buddy’s room. Usually we use the cake pan for magnet play, like we did in this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activity. However, sometimes Buddy just likes to bang on it like a drum or put other things into it. The muffin tin is usually used for putting in balls or animals like we did in this activity.

Getting ready to pour out the balls.

Getting ready to pour out the balls.

Cotton balls

Look at these snowballs!

Look at these snowballs!

These actually don’t live in Buddy’s room because they leave lint all over the carpet. But they are a lot of fun, and Buddy loves playing with them. Usually, we do this as a transfer activity between two bins.

Water

Cups and water are so fun.

Cups and water are so fun!

We have played with water outside in our water table, as well as inside in pans. (The picture above is from our Making Rain activity.) Buddy is especially excited about pouring water out of a cup, and he can do this forever. It can get messy, but it’s always worth the hassle.

Of course, Buddy still  loves playing with actual toys, but most of the time, the above items are his first choice. If you have any other ideas for untraditional play items, please leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.

 

 

Easter Egg Musical Shakers

The first week of school is finally over, and things are starting to settle down. Thankfully, that means I’ll have a little more time for fun, new activities with Buddy and blogging about them.

I first made these Easter egg shakers last Easter. He loves anything that makes sounds, so I filled his eggs with different materials. (I knew if he found eggs and they didn’t make sound, he wouldn’t be interested in them.) I filled the eggs with different materials. Some had a couple bells, some had pony beads, and some had rice. Buddy loved them and were a highlight of our Easter celebration.  At the time, I sealed them with Gorilla Glue, but Buddy broke into all of them. Since the fillings are a choking hazard, I had to put them away until they could be fixed.

Easter

Buddy last Easter. He’s so little here!

Last weekend, I finally got around to fixing the Easter Egg Shakers. I used superglue to seal three of the eggs. The other two eggs were left empty, so Buddy can take them apart and put them together. I put all of the eggs in an old egg carton because I know how much Buddy loves putting things in containers.

Buddy was so excited to see the eggs, and he immediately started shaking them. He loves the different sounds they make! He was a little disappointed with the empty eggs, but it was fun for him to figure out which ones were musical.

Egg shakers

Buddy really enjoyed putting the eggs in the egg carton and taking them out again. He also liked opening and closing the carton. The egg carton definitely enhanced his playtime with the eggs.

Egg sorting

After a little while, Buddy  decided to start pouring them over his head like he did with the balls in the muffin tin. (Is it just my kid that thinks this is fun?)

Pouring eggs on head

Buddy and I had a lot of fun with the eggs, and the egg carton made them easy to store until our next playtime. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fill the last few eggs with different sounds soon.

Repurposed for Fun: Balls in a Muffin Tin

Buddy and I went back to school this week, which means we have less time to do fun activities together. However, I do want to continue finding fun new activities for him. Today, I pulled out an old muffin tin and some of Buddy’s balls. Buddy loves balls of all kinds, but these Bright Start balls and the Munchkin bath balls (affiliate links) are his favorites. I put one ball in each cup, and then I handed it over to Buddy.

Balls in Muffin Tin 2

Lately, Buddy has been putting his balls in a small plastic boat or a cup and pouring it over his head. (It doesn’t make sense to me, but when you’re 16 months, it makes perfect sense and it’s hilarious.) I was curious to see if he’d do something similar with a full tin of balls, and sure enough, that’s what he did first.

Muffin tin on head

Buddy had a great time! He loved putting the balls in the tin and pouring them out again. He also loved hearing the balls rattle around in the tin. Buddy handed the tin to me several times because he wanted me to put in more balls.

Putting balls in tin

Spilled balls

We have a separate bin for untraditional play things in Buddy’s room. I put the muffin tin there, so it will be quick and easy for us to grab when we want to use it again. (We have a nicer one I use for baking. This one is almost only used for play.)

Do you have any other ideas for play using a muffin tin? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

The Snowy Day Indoor Snow Activity

For last week’s Time to Read Tuesday, I was looking for a quick and easy reading activity. I was busy packing for our trip (and finishing my quiet book), so I didn’t have time to prepare a reading activity during Buddy’s nap time. I saw the book The Snowy Day in a box of books and thought that Buddy would love to play in “snow”.

We started by reading The Snowy Day together. We looked at the pictures and talked a lot about snow. Then I pulled out a bunch of cotton balls and two plastic tubs. We went back to look at the pictures again, and pretended that the cotton balls were the snow balls from the book.

Snowy Day Reading

After that, I let Buddy play independently with the cotton balls. He had so much fun! We’ve played with cotton balls a few months ago, so I knew he would love it. Buddy put them from one container to another, poured them out, and tried to pull them apart. From time to time, he went back to look at the book’s pictures on his own.

Snowy Day Reading 2

Snowy Day Reading 3

Buddy had so much fun with the cotton balls that we pulled them out again the next day. It was such an easy activity and so much fun!

A Week of One Year Old Activities

This week, we’ve had house guests for the holiday, so we’ve been busy cleaning and entertaining. Buddy and I didn’t have our normal schedule this week, but we were still able to have lots of fun.

Most of the things we did this week were too small for me to do a whole blog post on that activity.  However, we did do a lot of fun things.  I thought a list of quick and easy  activities might be useful for other parents. I know I’m constantly looking for ideas for keeping Buddy entertained.

This week we have:

  • Played in our water tableWater table play
  • Watched fireworks
  • Played with glow in the dark bracelets
  • Swung on swingsSwings
  • Played with homemade playdough
  • Colored with crayons
  • Made pictures with stickers
  • Tried to put lids on containersPutting on lid
  • Crawled in the grass
  • Blown and popped bubbles
  • Put pom poms in an ice cube trayIce cube tray and poms
  • Rediscovered forgotten toys
  • Tossed a beach ball with a friend
  • Crawled in a tunneltunnel play
  • Went on walks around the neighborhood
  • Pushed around in the laundry basket
  • Played in a rice sensory binRice bin
  • Decorated a window with gel clings
  • Built towers and knocked them over
  • Put pom poms in a paper towel tubePom Pom Tube
  • Crawled on and helped to deflate an air mattress
  • Made and ate pudding
  • Played with a stack of lidsLids in high chair
  • Read books
  • “Helped” with laundry (put dirty towels in laundry basket and pulled out clean socks into a pile for matching)
  • Played with friends

This week, we have gone to:

  • Story time at Barnes and Noble
  • The grocery store and rode on the horse
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Two different parks
  • The library

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy preparing for our upcoming trip to Utah and California. I hope to finish and blog about those projects soon!

Now that we’ve reached the weekend, I’m ready to find new activities to do with Buddy. If you have any fun and easy ideas for young kids, I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

Repurposed for Fun: Bottle and Straws

The other day, I was looking for a quick activity that would be fun for Buddy. He gets bored with his toys after awhile, so I’m constantly looking for new activities using materials in our home.

I grabbed an empty water bottle and a handful of straws. We only have the tall straws right now, so I cut them down to fit inside the bottle. When I set out the materials, Buddy was immediately interested in them. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, though, until I showed him how to put a straw in the bottle.

water bottle and straws

What do I do with these?

Since Buddy loves putting objects in containers, he was really excited about putting the straws in the bottle. It took a lot of concentration, but he could do it.

water bottle and straws 2

Wow! Look what I can do!

After putting a couple straws in the bottle, Buddy shook it to check if it makes noise. (He loves making noise even more than putting objects in containers!) The straws did make some noise, but they also quickly popped out of the bottle.

water bottle and straws 3

Uh oh!

Water bottle and straws 4

What do I do now, Mom?

Buddy happily continued that cycle for awhile. He put the straws in the bottle, shook them out, and then started over again. He was very entertained for about 15 minutes, and then came back to the activity on and off several times after that. It was a lot of fun for him, and so easy to put together. I know we’ll do it again soon.